Today is the day we have been waiting for. Disneyland – Anaheim!
OH NO! Hotel Problems
We have a bigger budget for the next few days after we have traveled from Hawaii to California on our single parent travel adventure. We are fortunate to have found an accommodation opposite Disneyland. This is of course after yet another disappointment from online booking which is why we are becoming known as luxury travel experts in our field of family travel. We had arrived the night earlier at the LA hotel I had booked through a booking agency Booking.com (I never use this company as a result now of too many bad booking experiences), only to be told they never had a booking from us. This then turned into a full-blown challenge we had to resolve and later they reported the issue to my bank as it seems Booking.com do not like to care for their customers – well so it seems to us. We never use their site now as we have learned a valuable lesson as to which booking companies look after their clients. I discovered that Booking.com made a deduction from my credit card for an accommodation I never used and sent an email stating that I had refused to stay there. This was a total lie and I have had to do a follow up with my bank. We also learned to scroll to the back of the photos where the ‘real’ room will be shown, not the flashy ones you are actually not booking that appear at the front of their images which tricked us previously.
I have already contacted my bank because I want my $400 back. I feel blessed that my friends from the hills of LA were kind enough to pick us up and help us find another accommodation. After driving us around, we were able to find Ramada Anaheim, which is opposite Disney.
Ramada To The Rescue
I am impressed that the hotel offered amazing rates that included breakfast, jacuzzi, and swimming pool. We have figured out that we can spend part of the day in Disneyland, walk back and take a break at the hotel, then go back for more adventure and fun. This is what you get for having an accommodation near such facilities.
Our day begins at 5:30 a.m and by 6:00 a.m, we are already having breakfast by the pool. I have to admit that it is freezing cold outside and an indoor breakfast would have been better.
Disneyland Anaheim Arrival
By 7:45 a.m. we are warming up, and already in the Disneyland Park. We arrive at Disneyland Anaheim and everything is decorated for Halloween. The characters’ heads are carved like pumpkins.
Fabulous – there is hardly a soul around! We get a great shot of the giant Mickey Mouse pumpkin head.
We also get to see Walt Disney’s statue and talk about his dream. I have always been inspired by Walk Disney but I feel since his death many things have changed he would not agree with and a lot of innocence of Disneyland is lost.
We ride Star Galaxy and my son loves it and at this time he has no fear of rides.
Next, we then head for Space Mountain. My son asks the attendant if it “is a scary ride” and she adamantly says “no. It is less scary than Star Galaxy”.
So we sit right up front – BIG mistake!
Alas, she has told us wrong. Way wrong! In fact, it has changed its name to Ghost Galaxy.
It is a dark roller coaster fast ride. There are ghosts, skeletons and body parts flinging at us. My seven-year-old is completely traumatized by this. We are sitting right up front and I am trying to scream calm words at him above the noise till I lose my voice. He is thrashing, distraught and sadly, we can’t get off.
He gets off screaming, crying and shaking for two whole hours. I can’t calm him down and I don’t know what to do! He is hysterical. The poor child just is beyond control and now has a shocking fear of rides. He wants to get out of Disneyland and go back to Australia. Nothing will console him. I am really so upset at this employee giving us wrong information.
Reporting The Problem
So I head to Guest Relations. We talk to the guy who tries to get my son on some simple rides and gives us priority tickets. This is useless since he is now scared of anything that is joined together; any moving rides; darkness; loud noises etc.
So I head back again to Guest Relations. By now I am nearly in tears. The ‘dream day’ is now a horrible day. The dream is now a nightmare as his fear of rides seems to even be on even the most basic moving objects.
The Disneyland staff member informs us Disney will give us a cast member personal assistant for the day named Norali. She tries to make things better by talking to my son and discussing what he likes.
We walk around the park. She has us meeting loads of characters.
He even makes some jokes with the Barbershop Quartet.
Finally, the Disneyland cast member talks my son through his fear of rides into trying the Dumbo ride.
She has us go to the exit and he is straight on. He likes this ride and his fear of rides is dissipating and the next round he has Dumbo flying.
Next, she gets us into the spinning teacups but even this he seems to have a fear of rides with. Slowly he gains confidence – my goodness this is really slowing down our day as far as what I had anticipated we would be doing.
Then she manages to get him on Autopia – a car that drives on a track. We have success and he enjoys the cars.
We go again.
He has conquered his fear of rides on this activity for sure! Thank goodness as it was really messing with our day.
YAY – More excitement!
But then Norali (our personal cast assistant) makes some calls. She excels and has organized a private meeting with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
They really make him feel special. They take Explorason and ask him to be in the show.
Mickey Mouse even helps him make a mask.
Minnie Mouse is so lovely and grabs us before we finish for a photo. During this time we even have a Disney photographer taking photos of us around the park.
We end the Disneyland adventure with a big hug from Mickey Mouse.
Residual Fears From Trauma
I get back to the hotel exhausted. My son is afraid to go to sleep and has a lot of new fears. As much as the day ended well he is talking about his fears and the trauma over and over again.
I have a 2-day pass left and we will try California Adventure Park tomorrow. It has Carsland and I hope we can overcome some of the fears. In the morning we had quite a bit of apprehension.
The fear of this trauma lasted about 9 months or more. My advice is to check with the Disney office on arrival or read reviews regarding age-appropriate rides. We do thank Disneyland and our wonderful assistant for trying to resolve this, but it is very unfortunate it occurred.